Category: Budget

How Not to Blow Your Home Decoration Budget

So you are fed up with looking at the same walls all day, and would like to make a change in your home? It is a good idea to renovate and decorate your home from time to time, but you will need a plan to avoid blowing your budget. If you don’t check the basics or learn new ways of transforming your home, you might end up more than you are prepared to. Find out more below.

Plan The Steps Carefully

Before you start the decoration, you will have to do basic steps. If you start with your kitchen and your bathroom, you need to get a professional to survey your plumbing and the condition of your pipes, so you don’t end up stripping down the tiles after just a few months. Check out the list of plumbing services from Spartan to find out how you can benefit from a full inspection before decorating your home.

Check the Basics

It is also crucial that you check the condition of your walls and floors before you get started with the project. If you have old floorboards, you might need to invest in new ones once you change the carpet or the tiles. Alternatively, you can invest in an underfloor insulation or heating system, once you are at it. This way, you will not have to ruin your work later when you are doing home improvements.


You don’t have to buy the latest designer furniture to make your home look stylish and unique. You can visit thrift stores and get some furniture to upcycle. Turn an old coffee table into something beautiful by adding a mosaic pattern or high gloss paint.

Put Your DIY Skills To Good Use

Image via Picserver


It doesn’t take a lot of time to learn how to hang wallpaper of fit carpets. There are plenty of online tutorial videos you can watch. If you have a friend who is trained in different trades, you can ask them to show you some tricks that will make your life easier. From painting and decorating to laying floor and tiles, there are many jobs around the house you can do yourself.

Buy Used

Image via Max Pixel


Whenever you are renovating an old house, you will have to listen to its spirit. You might fancy the modern lines of Scandinavian furniture, but they simply don’t fit your interior. Buying old and creating a cottage or retro look can save you money and create a unique look in your home to be proud of. From old picture frames that only need a lick of paint to chairs that need reupholstering, there are several things to be found at barn sales.


If you are ready to redecorate your home, you need to plan your different phases carefully. Check your electricity, wiring, and plumbing before you start with decorating the floors and walls. Look for quality used furniture instead of choosing the latest designer sofas or wardrobes. Learn DIY and upcycling to save money.

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How to Save Money On Car Insurance With Safe Driving Courses

Knowing how to drive is a very important skill, but unfortunately driving comes with some added costs. Outside of the costs of a car itself, you also need insurance. This can really hit your family budget hard, especially if you have multiple cars and multiple drivers. One way you can save money on car insurance is through safe driving courses. Attending traffic school tells an insurer that you are serious about driving safely and you know how to do it.

Don’t just book yourself into safe driving courses hoping to get better insurance though, as not every insurer – or indeed state – provide discounts for attending traffic school.  You should also find out what the discount is, to make sure that it would be worth paying the costs of attending a driving class.

Does Attending Driving School Decrease Car Insurance Rates?

If you are attending a state-sponsored driving school, then there’s a good chance you can get a discount on your insurance. This isn’t guaranteed though. You should still ask your agent if they would offer you a discount. They may be willing to offer different discounts, such as homeowner discounts, safe driver discounts, and good student discounts. They may not ask you or bring these discounts to your attention, so you have to be sure to ask them.

Will Attending Driving School Reduce Insurance for Teen Drivers?

If you have a teenager that is coming up on driving age, you might be worried about the cost of adding them to your insurance. Teenagers are the most expensive group of people to insure because their inexperience makes them more likely to have an accident.

One way parents can offset these costs is to make their teen attend traffic school. There was a time when parents would be solely responsible for teaching their children to drive, but now teens are able to take driving classes from qualified instructors at high school. Even if they can’t attend driver’s ed at school, they should be able to find a good driving school.

These education courses are so great because they teach learners defensive driving techniques that help them drive better and avoid accidents. After they take – and pass – an education course, their parent can ask for a car insurance discount.

Does Attending Driving School Decrease Car Insurance Rates in my State?

There aren’t any laws that mandate the discounts an insurance company has to offer for any state. Whether you get a discount, and how much is discounted, depends entirely on your insurer. Be sure to ask them outright if you qualify for a discount by going on a driving course. There’s no harm in asking, and it could be the only way you ever find out. They can also tell you about any other ways you can keep your vehicles and family protected.

What Other Discounts can Drivers Get?

Car insurance companies will generally offer a range of discounts to customers. No matter what, you should find that you can get at least some kind of discount if you ask.

The most common discounts available are multi-policy discounts, accident-free discounts, multi-car discounts, long-term policyholder discounts, good student discounts, car safety discounts, and anti-theft discounts.

Most drivers will qualify for anti-theft and car safety discounts as safety features are standard with just about every new car. Having car alarms, anti-lock brakes, seatbelts, and airbags can all qualify you for a potential discount in your car insurance.

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Downsize Home, Upgrade Life

Image Condos are just one of several options


The big family home is a wonderful thing to possess while the kids are growing up. Once they’ve flown the nest, though, staying in an unnecessarily big property no longer makes sense. Aside from the financial costs, keeping it in good condition can prove to be a very challenging prospect indeed. In truth, downsizing to a smaller property may be the smartest decision you’ll ever make, but only if you complete the transition in a winning style?


Here are 10 top tips to ensure that downsizing opens the door to a brighter future.


#1. Prepare To Sell


Before buying the new home, you’ll want to sell the current one at the very best price available. It only takes a few short weeks to complete the jobs that will upgrade the value and attraction of your current home. Get those elements right before putting it on the market, and you should reach a far better outcome. It may be tempting to take the DIY approach to selling. However, it’s advised that you use a professional agent to secure the very best deal and complete the necessary legal documentation.


Securing the right sale will instantly provide better opportunities as you begin the next chapter. However, you don’t want to be living in temporary accommodation for long, which is why you must get the purchase right too.

Image Sell well to build a platform for success


#2. Buy The Right Property


There are many different factors to consider when buying a new property. Aside from the interior esthetic and dimensions, you want to consider the geographic location as well as the property type. Finding a condo for sale may be one of the best options. You’ll often find that the amenities are fantastic while the property itself will be in good health. At this time, buying a fixer-upper simply isn’t a solution. By choosing a home that needs minimal work completed, you’ll be able to enjoy the next stage of life right away.


Apart from the physical benefits of choosing the right property, you’ll also gain the peace of mind and confidence that you deserve. If that doesn’t provide the platform for a better life, what will?


#3. Get Rid Of The Junk


Before actively moving, you need to accept that the old home doesn’t have the amount of storage or space as the old one. Offering furniture and other items within the old property to the buyer at a discounted price can make life a lot easier. Alternatively, garage sales and online selling can serve a similar purpose. They’ll free you from some of the junk while ensuring that the new property remains uncluttered. If nothing else, this is a great opportunity to start afresh. Staying loyal to unloved goods is futile.


There’s nothing worse than transporting items with you only to realize that you don’t have the space. Being realistic through this part of the process will serve you well.


#4. Focus On Safety


When downsizing to a condo or a home within a multi-unit facility, it’s very easy to assume that everything is safe and secure. While you might not need to pay quite as much attention as with the old home, you must still take the right precautions to prevent break-ins. Perhaps more crucially, you need to consider that neighbors could potentially cause problems for you. Checking the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors is vital. Even if the dangers are minimal, it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Above all else, covering all the bases in this area should lead to far greater peace of mind.   

Image A safe home is a happy home.


#5. Make Rooms Feel Big


The fact of the matter is that your smaller property is likely to have smaller rooms. Therefore, it’s vital that you do take the necessary steps to enhance the appearance of space. Light color schemes and good lighting can make a monumental impact. Other steps can include mounting TVs to the walls, using shelving rather than bookcases and finding hidden storage. A brighter room that is blessed with a lot of floor space will seem just as big and welcoming as your old home.


Better still, it’s easier to clean the home when you keep it in this manner. This in itself is a huge incentive for moving.


#6. Stamp Your Personality


Moving to a smaller property needn’t stop you from making the place feel like home. Photos, holiday souvenirs, and sports memorabilia are all great ways to turn a plain home into a place that makes you feel comfortable. The money saved from downsizing can enable you to incorporate advanced tech features. This can include voice-activated devices and projector screens. Aside from the personal benefits, this can turn the property into a cool location for hosting friends for small gatherings.


Enjoying the property with greater results when you’re alone and with loved ones can only be a better outcome than staying in the old property.


#7. Get Involved


When moving into a new home, it can be a little daunting. Whether you’re alone still living with your partner, it always pays to play an active role in the community. If living in a condo, joining the board gives you a voice on future change, which is a huge reward for minimal work. However, even if you just move to a smaller house, the neighborhood watch schemes and community activities are brilliant. Aside from actively making the transition feel smoother, it’ll improve the sense of security too.  


When moving into the new home, you aren’t just purchasing a property. You’re buying into a new way of life. Active participation can only help.

Image If you can’t beat them, join them!


#8. Focus On What You Need


It’s not uncommon for family homes to include several rooms that virtually go to waste. Having a smaller property virtually forces you to rethink the way you utilize space. The best way to find a winning formula is to ensure that each area does what it is supposed to do. The bedroom should encourage the best night’s sleep while the kitchen and bathroom should be functional. While the esthetic beauty is still crucial, knowing that your new home is designed to make life easier should be the priority.


On a separate note, having a sofa bed instead of a guest room will have an immensely positive impact, even if the kids do stay on a semi-frequent basis.


#9. Consider Revenue Streams


Depending on the level of downsize, it may be possible to buy another property within the same building or close by. This can open up a wealth of buy-to-let opportunities. Alternatively, short-term lettings through online services can work wonders too. This regular stream of income could be very useful when you eventually reach retirement too. In the meantime, knowing that you have some financial relief virtually secured may allow you to cut down your hours. After decades of hard work, that’s the least you deserve.


It’s not for everyone, but this is certainly an option worth consideration.


#10. Embrace The Savings


One of the best things about downsizing is that it improves your financial situation. You can take this to an entirely new level simply by searching for the best energy bills and embracing green technology. When you do, you’ll have far more money for the luxury purchases. Whether it’s getting a garden jacuzzi for a smaller house or making luxury additions to the living room is up to you. In addition to upgrading the home, you should take this opportunity to enjoy days out and holidays.


Downsizing can unlock the door to a brighter future, but you will lose some of the collateral tied up in assets. Keep some money tucked away for unforeseen situations and you’ll be just fine.


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Creating A Modern Living Room On A Budget

A stylish, modern living room is a dream to come home to. The perfect place to put your feet up after a long day, you want a space you can truly relax and feel comfortable in.

Image: Kaboom Pics


If your living room feels a bit dated or dull, then it’s time to inject some new life into it – something that’s not always easy when your funds are stretched. Building the perfect living room setup can take time to get right, but it’ll certainly be worth it when you do.


Take a look at some inspired ideas to create a modern living room on a budget.

Strip back the floor

While you can’t beat the feeling of soft carpet under your feet, they’re easy to ruin and will need replacing in ten or even five years’ time. A hard floor, however, looks much cleaner, more modern and is easy to maintain. If you have hardwood floors under your carpet, then you’re already onto a winner, but if not then there are some affordable flooring options that will create a chic, glamorous look that you can adapt your decor around whenever you feel like making changes.

Give the walls a fresh coat of paint

A fresh coat of paint can work miracles in your living room, instantly upgrading it and allowing you to try out modern looks without spending much money. Popular living room color ideas include white, greys and other neutrals, although greens are also starting to come back this year. While you could brave a more vibrant color, remember that you’ll have more flexible decor options if you stick to something more neutral.

Find affordable, on-trend furniture

Finding the right living room furniture is one of the hardest parts of redecorating, as you’ll want to invest in quality furniture that is comfortable and suits your taste. It can feel disheartening to see the prices of some furniture pieces, but if you’re willing to shop around, then you can pick up some great deals. If you shop for furniture during sale season, for example, you could easily pick up some bargains on top-quality furniture which doesn’t go out of fashion like clothing does.


There are also some amazing websites that sell furniture at discounted prices. Even your friend with the best taste in living room chairs will be impressed with the types of things you can buy online, so make sure you shop around to help you find the best deal. Another alternative for budget interiors is to buy your furniture used. For wooden products like a dining table, for example, you could pick up some extremely well-made, durable pieces for less than if you bought them new.

Create a clean, minimal aesthetic

Modern living rooms are neat, minimal and have a Scandinavian influence that oozes sleek, contemporary living. If you look at minimalist living rooms, you’ll see that they look open and airy – which is largely because of everything having its place. Focus on making your living room clutter-free – it’ll completely change the look of your space. Invest in storage furniture which looks great but is able to hide things away and try adding shelves to keep things off the floor and on the walls instead.

Don’t splash out on high-end accessories

You might be tempted to spend hundreds of dollars on a stylish lamp, but is it the best thing for your finances? You can make your money stretch further by buying your home accessories online. Some of the best places to buy affordable home accessories include Wayfair, H&M and Amazon, allowing you to mimic designer looks for less. If you’re going to pick something to invest a bit more money in, make sure you focus on your textiles instead – rugs and throws in luxurious fabrics can make a great impression, and they’ll last much longer when they’re made from high-quality materials.

Make your home a smart home

Turning your home into a smart home is another way you can adopt modern living, and save yourself some money in the long-term too. Smart homes can be stylish and there are some great living room items you can buy that look impressive, but also have some amazing features. Focus on turning your home into a smarter home to boost your finances while helping the environment.


Your new modern living room will be one of the most-loved and most-used in your home, so make sure you get it exactly how you want it. Make the most of it by having friends and family over this summer and enjoy showing off your stylish new space.

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Saving on Household Expenses

Is your household budget spiraling out of control? Do your outgoings exceed your income? Or are you struggling to keep on top of things? Do you find yourself eagerly awaiting payday every month only to find that once your household bills are paid and you’ve done a big food shop, there is very little left for the next few weeks? Or, do you find yourself unable to cope when an unexpected bill, perhaps a repair, comes in? Well, you aren’t alone!


The cost of living has risen enormously in the last 20 years. Much faster than minimum wage. The average 4-person household is spending up to a third of their income on rent or mortgage repayments, another third on food and the rest on other household bills. A massive amount of us have nothing left to cover other costs, to socialize or to have fun with our families, let alone things like vacations and treats. It’s no way to live. There are some things, like the rate of inflation, that you have absolutely no control over. But, there are other things that you can change. Things that you can do to reduce your household expenses, enabling you to start building a rainy-day fund or just feel more financially stable.





Food might be one of our busiest household expenses, but it’s also one of the best places to save money as well as one of the easiest. You just need to take a little more time to plan, instead of just buying on a whim.


Every week sit down and write a meal plan for the coming days. Think about everything, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Then, take a good look through your cupboards and fridge to see what you need before writing your shopping list so that you are only buying what you need. Then, stick to it. Some people find online shopping helps as it’s not as easy to be tempted by other things.


Meal planning like this gives you a great chance to save money as well as reducing your food waste massively. Other places to save money on food include:


  •    Buying cheaper ingredients
  •    Freezing leftovers
  •    Cooking in bulk and freezing extras
  •    Eating smaller portions
  •    Including filling, cheap ingredients like beans and lentils in your cooking
  •    Not eating out or on the go





Next, there’s utilities. Like food, heating, water and electric is much more expensive than it used to be. But, again there are easy places to save. Enter your details into a comparison site to make sure you are getting the best deal. Don’t waste money by sticking with your supplier out of loyalty. If you are unable to switch, or your current supplier is the best, you could still save money by switching to a tariff that better suits your needs.


Some people find that a smart meter helps them to monitor their usage and save money, speak to your supplier about having one installed. Then, make some simple changes like turning lights off when you leave rooms and lowering your thermostat a few degrees.




Household appliances can be very expensive. Modern smart appliances can save you money in the long-term but can be expensive to replace if they break. So, instead, look after them, get them repaired using an Appliance repair service, keep them clean and make sure you read the manual and use them correctly. So that they last longer and cost you less.


Stop Paying for What You Don’t Use


An awful lot of us are spending a fortune on things that we either don’t use, don’t need or don’t want. This is nothing short of a complete waste of money. Look at those things that you are paying for that you don’t use. Do you go to the gym often enough to make your membership fee worth it? Could you take up running or workout at home instead? Do you need all of the minutes and data on your mobile phone contract or could you cut back? Do you need high speed internet? If you just use it to browse or for the odd download you might not even notice the difference. Write a list of everything that you spend money on and ask yourself if you need it at all, or if you could make some cutbacks?


Consolidate Your Debts

Most of us are in debt. A lot of us have more than one debt in the form of overdrafts, credit cards and store cards. The interest and repayments on these can be crippling. To save yourself money, apply for a consolidation loan to put all your debt in one place. This will mean you pay less interest and give you a chance to clear your debts much faster.

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